There’s nothing more heartbreaking for an author than when their publisher stops paying their royalties, and stops responding to their correspondence. America Star Books / ASB Promotions (previously PublishAmerica) has been accused of these misdeeds, and much more.
But, have the hundreds of authors who have filed complaints been reporting their publisher to the WRONG DIVISION at the Maryland Attorney General’s Office? Based on the information below, it appears they have! Remember, just because YOU, as an AUTHOR, understanding publishing and royalties doesn’t mean someone working at the attorney general’s office will.
The Maryland Attorney General Apparently Needs YOUR Help Understanding the Complaints!!
Authors may have been reporting America Star Books / ASB Promotions / Publish America to the WRONG DIVISION at the Maryland Attorney General! If you are owed royalties, or if you paid for services or books that you never received, you may need to report them to the CRIMINAL DIVISION of the Maryland Attorney General…NOT the consumer division!
Here’s what one author reported last week, which exposed the confusion at the AG’s office:
According to the MD consumer complaint line’s operator today, the department does log in the complaints against ASB (50 to date), and had done so against PA (230 reported), even though they were not actionable as consumer complaints. However, that is as far as it went and no action has been taken.
To confirm this, I telephoned Unit Manager of the AG’s Consumer Complaints Division, Maryland. She returned my call, and restated that my complaint is not a consumer issue, and is not actionable, but that my complaint and all others received are logged in.
She said my complaint is not a crime being committed, it is “just a company going out of business.” She said the Tate Publishing case in Arizona involved embezzlement and that was a crime.
I told her my royalties are not being paid and that 50 complaints about ASB and 230 complaints filed about Publish America document the company collecting payment for actual goods, and royalties being collected, but no goods have been provided in return, and the author’s share of the royalties have not been paid, and that is a criminal complaint.
She said she didn’t realize this and she will notify the state’s criminal division.
As I explained in THIS ARTICLE, this is how money is supposed to flow from a book-buying consumer…all the way down to the author:
1. Customer pays retailer
2. Retailer pays distributor/printer
3. Distributor/printer pays publisher
4. Publisher pays author
Publishers are supposed to put their authors’ royalties into an account until it’s time to pay those authors. If they don’t, and if they spend that money elsewhere (and never pay the authors), they can (and should) be charged with a crime.
With regards to complaints about undelivered books and services – if they were (allegedly) collecting money for services they knew they’d never be able to perform, or books they never planned to print (because they may have been planning to shut their doors), that, too, would get them into hot water. Likewise, if they collected money for services or books, failed to deliver, and then didn’t issue refunds to the authors (because they may have spent the money elsewhere), that can also lead to additional legal problems for the publisher.
If you believe you are a victim, and especially if they owe you royalties, you may want to contact the Criminal Division of the Maryland Attorney General’s office. If you already filed a complaint with their consumer division, you can file another one with the criminal division.
Next week, we’ll explain possible options that authors of America Star Books / ASB Promotions / Publish America have for getting their books back on the market.
- Victoria Strauss’ very detailed run-down on America Star Books (formerly PublishAmerica) / ASB Promotions
- Can’t Get Your Book Files from Your Defunct Publisher? Here’s what you can do…
- Why Hasn’t Anybody Filed a Class-action Lawsuit Against Tate Publishing? Here’s the Likely Answer…
- Victim of defunct Tate Publishing doesn’t want to pay Tate’s (unfair) $50 for her production files. Can she just use the files they sent her for approval before the book was published?
- WritersWeekly Whispers and Warnings
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
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See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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